July 16, 2018

ABA President Hilarie Bass asks Congress to halt change in hiring of administrative law judges

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2018 — Hilarie Bass, president of the American Bar Association, sent a letter to the House Committee on Rules Monday, saying a recent executive order that changes how administrative law judges are hired could “politicize the appointment process and interfere with the decisional independence of ALJs.”

“A fair and impartial administrative judiciary is indispensable to our system of justice,” Bass wrote. “Vast numbers of Americans are involved in administrative adjudicative proceedings every day, and the decisions rendered by ALJs in these proceedings often affect their lives in profound ways… Nothing less than the integrity of the administrative judiciary is at issue here.”

President Trump’s July 10 order eliminates the nationwide, uniform, competitive selection exam process for federal administrative law judges, and weakens existing qualification standards. Bass said that no changes should be made until “there has been an opportunity for Congress and the public to engage in an open and deliberative process.” She asked Congress to support an amendment from Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia that would prohibit the use of federal funds to implement the order.

Read the full letter here.

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